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Cognex ID Readers – the right mix for complete part traceability

Borg Warner barcode cognex handheld scanner

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By deploying the DataMan® 7500, DataMan 100 ID Readers as well as the In-Sight® 5110 vision systems from Cognex, Borg Warner Turbo Systems in Germany took the quality control of their turbocharger production in a new direction. When they implemented a traceability project with a principal objective of using Cognex ID Readers – the DataMan 7500 and the DataMan 100 - to identify the individual code on a component they were able to create seamless traceability through the production process and beyond.

Tracking 3.5 million products…
Some 3.5 million turbochargers a year leave the BorgWarner Turbo Systems production plant every year. More than 2,000 staff look after products, markets and development. In early 2006, an innovative team of specialists first launched their data traceability project with the aim of tracking data using core assembly coding. The core assembly is the first production state of the turbocharger and it is to this that all remaining components are fitted.  Turbochargers are the small power stations which have advanced the diesel engine more than almost any other technology, especially in cars. Being exposed to temperatures of up to 1050 °C and pressures of up to three bar, perfect production quality is essential.  One of the project objectives was to use Cognex ID Readers – the DataMan 7500 and the DataMan 100 - to identify the individual code on a component. After several test runs, it was decided to use an adhesive label with a 2D matrix code printed on it so components could be coded quickly and easily. Also - the code can easily be read, even when dirty.

Cost saving traceability
From the first steps of assembling parts to the final inspection, all important production parameters are detected, inspected and the results stored in the central database at BorgWarner for further processing. This not only minimizes errors in production, but if defects were subsequently detected, the data biography of the turbocharger reconstructs the production conditions preventing any future disputes arising from claims by automotive manufacturers and limiting the investigation to a minimal number of items. The constant validation of these steps using data already collected from prior steps likewise contributes to error prevention, making the data traceability system a proactive tool. This represents an enormous cost saving to the automotive supplier.

Read every code at any stage…
A PC is installed at every workstation and at each one, operators use the DataMan 7500 to scan the code. The data created can then be accurately assigned to the current core assembly.  The data system specifies working steps and inspection criteria and once work is complete, decides whether to approve the component.  At another point, the DataMan 100 inspects the operational balance to ensure that the turbocharger is guaranteed to run concentrically.

... even in tough production conditions 
Finally the turbo charger rating plates are marked with a Data Matrix code in accordance with the customer classification.  Within a fraction of a second, a Cognex In-Sight 5110 tests the Data Matrix code for code quality so that even after the adhesive labels have been destroyed by thermal action during production, the setting and assembly values detected can still be linked to the turbo charger number via the database years after it was manufactured.

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